Well after 12 years at the College Board, my luck finally ran out. I had to go to headquarters in New York. I have been avoiding the island of Manhattan my entire career, mostly because I have pictured New York as a kind of Hell on Earth.
This is not to say I am afraid of cities. I have been to most of the lower 48 states and there are some cities I love (Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco). But I have never wanted to visit New York.
Early on in my career, I had to conduct a training in Newark, NJ. That, my friends, is a true Hell hole. I guess I imaged NY to be a larger version of that.
To my surprise, it was not too bad. Most of the city that I saw by cab was quite nice. The couple of dicey neighborhoods were no worse than any other city I have seen.
I was all ready give NY the benefit of the doubt; but then I had to go home. I was heading back to the airport, hailed my first cab and then wham! There was a fire on the 59th street Bridge. Manhattan was instantaneously constipated. I was in the cab for almost 3 hours. I missed my flight and had to wait an additional 3 hours for the next flight. My original analysis turned out to be right.